Can we help with your concern?

Who can raise a concern

Anyone can raise a concern about a doctor. This includes members of the public, patients, family members, guardians, next of kin, employers, as well as other health and care professionals. You can raise a concern about your own care, or on behalf of someone else.

Is your concern something we can investigate?

We take every concern raised about a doctor seriously. We investigate when we believe a doctor poses a serious risk to patients or has significantly or repeatedly failed to meet our standards.

We can usually only investigate concerns about:

  • serious or repeated mistakes in patient care
  • abuse of professional position, for example, an improper sexual relationship with a patient 
  • violence, indecency or sexual assault
  • a serious criminal offence
  • discrimination against patients, colleagues or others
  • fraud or dishonesty
  • if a doctor’s health affects their practice or conduct
  • serious concerns about a doctor’s ability to communicate in English.

Some of the things we don’t investigate include: 

  • minor clinical errors
  • rudeness
  • disagreements over a diagnosis and medical reports
  • concerns about other healthcare professionals
  • waiting lists and access to appointments
  • upkeep and condition of hospitals and practices.
We know it can be worrying when care goes wrong. While there are some concerns we can’t help with, another organisation may be able to support you.

Examples of things we can’t help with include:

  • providing an explanation of your treatment
  • fining a doctor 
  • making a doctor apologise
  • changing the outcome of a local investigation  
  • making a doctor give you a different treatment 

Is there a time limit for raising a concern?

There is no time limit for raising a concern. However, it’s a good idea to raise your concern as soon as possible after the incident.

If the incident happened more than five years ago, we’ll ask you to let us know why you couldn’t raise your concern earlier, to help us decide whether we can investigate.

Who can help with your concern if we can’t?

Often, the best place to start is by talking to the people who were involved with your care or treatment, if you feel comfortable to do so. The hospital, GP practice or clinic where you received care will have its own complaints procedures.

If this doesn’t help or if you don’t want to raise your concern in this way, there are organisations who can help you.

Find out more about who to contact on our local help pages.

Further support